Pimento Cheese, Not Your Grandma's Spread

Pimento cheese is one of those foods that has been so corrupted by the food industry that it has become synonymous with other crappy foods like Spam.  I'm not even certain what store bought pimento cheese might contain, nor do I want to find out.  It's a shame because pimento cheese can be a delightful treat, even if it does Read the full post…

Plum Good BBQ Sandwiches

In a few days it will officially be fall but the temperatures are still warm enough for me to continue swimming for a few more days.  The breeze was a little cool but that didn't stop me from swimming several laps this morning and I felt great afterwards!  Have you exercised lately?  With fall's cooler temperatures and fewer insects, you Read the full post…

Shingles Vacine and Treatment

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with shingles so I felt I should discuss this nasty virus once again.  If you ever had chicken pox, you are at risk for getting shingles and believe me, you don't want it.  Shingles is a painful rash with blisters that scab over and may take 4 weeks or more to heal.  The Read the full post…

Vegetarian Tacos are muy delicioso!

There are times when I think I could easily become a vegetarian, especially when I try a new dish that is as good as the vegetarian tacos I had at Local Lime restaurant in Little Rock and the tofu fried rice at Sai Tai here in Jonesboro.  My husband and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary this past weekend by spending Read the full post…

Midyear Health Check

Summer is winding down , the year is more than half way over and our January resolutions are long forgotten.  It's time for a health reality check.  First of all, how is your health lately?  If you have enjoyed good health, are you thankful?  Take some time to appreciate how wonderful it feels to be healthy, for your family to Read the full post…

Vacation Lessons For A Healthier Life

  I'm back from a lovely beach vacation and I wish I was still there with all my heart.  Wouldn't it be nice if our every day life was as nice as a vacation?  If we could relax, eat well, sleep and exercise just enough without having to worry about bills, work, illnesses and school, our lives would be perfect.  But Read the full post…

Mixing and Matching Is Good – Mama Mia’s Baked Pasta

[ Post by Lisa Tedder ][ Post on March 15, 2011 ][ In Chicken & Other Poultry, Pasta, Pork ]

You know how excited I get when I find a great recipe so here we go.  My sister gave me a copy of the Food Network magazine for March where I saw an article on Mix and Match Baked Pasta.  I liked the concept of picking your favorite pasta, making a basic tomato sauce, picking mix-ins from meat to vegetables, adding flavorings and cheeses.  Check out the magazine for further inspiration but here is the formula I used with a twist of my own.  I even gave it a name because it was a huge hit with my family.

Mama Mia’s Baked Pasta
1 16 oz. package bow tie pasta
1 35 oz. can whole plum tomatoes
4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup water
sweet Italian sausage
2 Tbsp. low fat cream cheese
1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
1 6 oz. package fresh spinach
1 bunch parsley
1 package basil
1/2 cup low fat, low salt cottage cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Remove casings from sausage and brown in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Rinse, drain and place in a 13X9 baking dish that has been lightly greased.  Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and add to meat in dish.  Meanwhile, reuse skillet to brown zucchini in 2 Tbsp. of oil.  When lightly browned, add to meat in baking dish.  Heat  remaining oil in skillet and saute garlic until fragrant.  Add tomatoes, crushing them with your fingers as you add them to the pan.  Add water and 2 Tbsp. of cream cheese.  Stir in fresh spinach and let simmer.  Using a food processor, process the basil, parsley and cottage cheese until chopped and blended.  Stir into sauce.  Pour sauce over pasta mixture and mix well.  Top with Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes until lightly browned and bubbly.

While this recipe isn’t hard, it does have several steps but it was worth it.  I’d serve this with a salad and bread to any guests; it is that good.  The twist I used was the cottage cheese to make the sauce a bit creamier without the fat cheese would have added.  Since there were so many nice vegetables in it, I didn’t feel the need for a side, I just served bread.  Give this recipe a try this weekend and see if you don’t like it too.

Upadated on March 15, 2011

One Response to “Mixing and Matching Is Good – Mama Mia’s Baked Pasta”

  1. Anonymous says:

    going to try….looks good! Crystal

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